“Connolly, after forays into Wagner, Mahler and a brush with cancer, remains optimal casting for the charismatic title role, written for a woman, even though the role of the biblical king was intended as an avatar for Handel’s royal patron, George II, here seen as the Act I lover, opposite Mafi’s radiant Queen, and as an international diplomat in the encounter with Bevan’s lush-toned Queen of Sheba. The 30-minute sequence — which included the ravishing aria with oboe solo (Katharina Spreckelsen) Will the Sun Forget to Streak — whetted the appetite for a complete performance with these fine Handel singers.”

Hugh Canning